Data Cookbook contains functional and technical definitions. This document provides standards for technical definitions. A technical definition contains text and code that allows someone familiar with the data system to extract the data that corresponds to the functional definition. A good technical definition includes as much text and code needed for a custodian or other technical person to locate the correct data location for data corresponding to the associated functional definition. Unlike the functional definition, this definition can be incomprehensible to the business user. A term corresponding to data in multiple data sources will have a technical definition pertaining to each data source.


Use a brief label to record a column name if this is the only thing being recorded:

Column Name: student_name

Record the path if the field has one. List only the attributes, not the field labels. Omitting field labels in path names makes it easier to read the path. This example is from the Student Consolidated Package:

Path: Student > Student Bio > visa code


Include one or more of these elements:

  • Query, API, or calling method
  • Method of calculation
  • Transformations
  • Value sets
  • Ambiguity or accuracy issues
  • Gaps or inconsistencies

Make ambiguity explicit.¬†Use phrases such as “Accuracy is unknown.” or “The country table has an entry “xxx”. We do not know why.”